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Please add Transparent Background Option to MOV File Format (VS-3555)

This request is for the ability to specify transparent background on a .MOV file output. Currently the only ways to get a transparent background are to output a PNG sequence, or to use chroma key techniques for a .MOV file (for example, specify a green background, then remove the green background using chroma key in an external video editor).

It would be great to be able to simply specify transparent background for a scribe. Some clip art may have fill issues, but in my case, I've never used clip art in a commercial project for a customer, so that doesn't matter.

6 people like this idea

I'm not sure the MOV format supports transparency does it?  Certainly the format of it we use doesn't.

We are adding more and more output file formats - including WMV in the next release and many more to follow shortly.  

Only some formats support the transparency and the PNG sequence is the obvious choice for doing this.  Can I ask why PNG sequence for a commercial project isn't the best choice?  It's lossless (high quality) and very manageable and supported by almost all post production software?

I was not aware that MOV doesn't support transparency/alpha channel. Whatever format does, that's the one to use.

As well as PNG may work, it doesn't work in my flow! Perhaps I am in the minority here. I use Camtasia 2 Mac, which imports a PNG sequence as separate PNG files, which are challenging to add to the timeline. That's not Sparkol's problem of course, but it causes me problems.

Apparently it is possible from apple's side of things... "Export to Quicktime, with transparency checked, then pick Custom and choose Apple Animation as the codec":

I don't know whether or not it can be implemented in Videoscribe.

-Mike (videoscribe user)

To Jon Air, Mike Metcalf discovered above that certain codecs do support transparency with QuickTime files. So it would require Sparkol to add support for one of those codecs to videoscribe. Alternatively, does anyone know a good utility that imports PNG sequences and outputs high quality QuickTime files?

Thank you guys. We will investigate further and see if we can add "Apple Animation" codec option with transparency to a future release of version 2.

For combining transparency here we really love Adobe After Effects - but it isn't really a utility...

One thing with a transparent background in the MOV file is you will need to ensure your NLE will support the transparency, I know that FCPX and Premiere Pro CC both support a MOV alpha channel however I cannot comment on any others - I assume they do but as it has often been said "assumption is the mother of all stuff ups"

Personally I use a chroma key technique with my scribes, generally it works fine but where it gets tricky is when I need both blue and green elements in the same scribe, this has happened before. The main way I have dealt with it isn't optimal but it works so here it is for anyone who is interested - god I hope this makes sense to everyone! 

  1. I work out my entire scribe on a white or black background to start, this depends on the colour scheme of my elements
  2. I save as many copies of the scribe as I need - often 2 to 4 copies, this is 1 for each "offending element" - these are the problem blue or green elements
  3. 1 scribe is my "master", this has the majority of elements on it, I then delete all of the "offending elements" from the master scribe, next I add the amount of time lost from deleting the "offending elements" to the element just before it, this ensures I have enough time to put the element back in place in my NLE 
  4. I then change the background colour of my master scribe to either blue or green subject to my requirements 
  5. Export the master scribe
  6. On each of the scribes with the "offending elements" I delete all elements within the master scribe and any other offending elements, I then change the background colour to blue or green and export them
  7. In my NLE I chroma key the master scribe, overlay (or underlay) the "offending elements" and apply a chroma key to each of these files 
  8. I time the video so it works in the correct sequence and then hold that frame until it is no longer needed - often it is the end of the video or when the canvas moves.

Alternatively you can do this as 2 files of the same length a master and secondary, it is easier in the NLE but it is more difficult in VideoScribe when you have multiple "offending elements", because I am better with my NLEs than with VideoScribe I find the step by step way to be better for me. 

It does get tricky when the canvas moves or zooms but I simply keyframe the "offending video" to move in the same direction or approximate scale at same time. You can get a reduction in quality of the offending element when scaling larger however if you don't scale too much it often isn't noticed by the audience even though you, the editor, can see it clearly (or not clearly) each time.  

I use both FCPX and Premiere Pro CC, out of the 2 for this work I do prefer FCPX but it does work in both. 

Awesome post. Thanks!

No problems Dave

Rendering with the Apple Animation codec could be an option, although you'll end up with files that eat up your harddrive space (a simple animation of 2 minutes can get a filesize of several GB's!!!). And the rendering is not as fast as the standard MOV codec used in VS.

The PNG-sequence is by far the best option if you are planning to do some post production. Tools like After Effects or Nuke handle these files without any problem. The added bonus here is that working with an image sequence is, in my opinion, far more manageable in the tools mentioned then a QuickTime Movie file.

I wonder if you can export a .png sequence from the ipad application


Hi David, the PNG sequence export is a feature available for Pro desktop users and is not a feature for the iPad version.

+1 for a transparent background option either video or PNG with transparent background. Right now I have the trial. Can you export the PNG with transparent background?  

Yes, pro users can export a png sequence with transparnt backgrounds as long as you do not add a background texture in your scribe.

-Mike (videoscribe user)


Hi, absolute first time user here. I am a professional videographer and animator. One of my clients has asked me to produce something using elements of Videoscribe with custom images. I had assumed, foolishly without checking, that Videoscribe would offer the option to export a Quicktime video with an alpha channel, i.e. to allow the background to be transparent. I would have thought that's a fairly fundamental requirement, hence my assumption that it would be a feature. I will, of course, use the png export facility (which workd fine but adds another task into the workflow) but do you have plans to implement this properly in future? Many thanks.

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